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  • Podcast: Mid-Season Review 2022  

  • Podcast: Mid-Season Review 2022  

DEES-MANTLED by George On The Outer



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Well the streak has finally ended, but in the worst possible way, when Fremantle absolutely dismantled Melbourne to record an emphatic 38 point win.

This ended the 17 game winning streak of the Demons, but worse to report was that Melbourne led the game by nearly 5 goals in the second quarter, before the Dockers banged through 10 straight goals. In fact they kicked 13 goals to 1 from that point just before half time.

So what happened? 

Melbourne aren’t accustomed to losing in this way, given they are a team which in recent times doesn’t do much losing at all.  But when a team completely runs over another in such a way, it is surely the structures which have collapsed.

Indeed, for the Demons, a team which has built its “Melbourne way” around such structures, when those building blocks are taken away, it exposed a lot more than the Demons supporters were prepared to admit.

The dismantling started perhaps at selection table with the loss of Tom McDonald  up forward. The team already had lost Ed Langdon from the wing last week. Their replacements in Jake Melksham and Sam Weideman contributed the grand total of 12 possessions combined.  Between them their total metres gained for the team was barely 1/3 of what Langdon contributes alone on a weekly basis!

To make matters worse, Stephen May was concussed early in the first quarter, taking away a vital foundation of the defence.  While Harry Petty was swung into action he took suffered an ankle injury, and although he played out the game, he was severely hampered. 

In the middle, Christian Petracca was obviously carrying some sort of injury, as he could barely raise a trot, and 10 disposals in total is barely 1/3 of his usual output.  Strangely, the coaches left him in there until the final quarter, when he was moved to full forward but by now was probably just filling a spot.

It was not surprising the number of clean clearances that Freo had, with only Clayton Oliver and Jack Viney doing their usual best.  Oliver with 36 touches and Viney 28 is what we now expect, but Dunstan could only provide 12 touches in ¾ of a game.  Equally as baffling was that Tom Sparrow wasn’t used in the middle to any real extent until the last quarter, but the game was over by then.

With no impact from Weideman up forward, he was swung firstly to wing, and then to back where he produced a similarly poor output.  Charlie Spargo was swung from forward to wing to try to cover the gaps.  At least Angus Brayshaw dropped further back in defence and probably single-handedly saved three. goals and further embarrassment to the scoreline.  James Jordon was moved to the wing to fill the Melksham gap and performed admirably with 27 touches. 

Without McDonald up forward and Langdon on one wing, there were no link up players who are so critical to the structures. Trent Rivers was moved to kick-out duties but the upfield targets were well covered, and Freo just chipped the ball around and past Melbourne players at will.

Ben Brown was ineffective as he was left on his own to battle the multiple Freo defenders.  The whole structure around him was vacant after half time. At least Bayley Fritsch provided some scoreboard pressure in the early stages, and Toby Bedford chipped in for a couple of majors himself, but they too were not to be seen much in the second half.

What to do?  There were plenty of “learnings” from the game.  Not much can be done about injuries, but this game exposed a number of players at the margins, who simply do not work hard enough or whose lack of suitable skills are highlighted when not being covered by those around them. 

Without May next week, the backs will be forced to re-group and hopefully Petty also can overcome his ills. Equally, the supporters will hope that whatever ails Petracca is not serious, and McDonald, Langdon and Harmes can return as well next week.

Perhaps Hibberd and Salem, while these would be a long shot, others holding down places in the side have now proved they are simply not up to the task, and their replacement will help restore those critical structures.

If not then the well drilled and well structured Sydney side will repeat the outcome of this game, and remind the Demon supporters of the outcomes we played Freo and Sydney in successive games in Cairns in 2020.

NARRM 2.2.14 6.8.44 7.10.52 7.14.56

FREMANTLE 1.6.12 2.7.19 10.9.69 14.10.94

GOALS

NARRM Fritsch 3 Bedford 2 Jordon Pickett

FREMANTLE Lobb  Schultz 3 Frederick Taberner 2 Colyer Darcy Mundy Walters

BEST

NARRM Oliver Jordon Viney Fritsch Brayshaw

FREMANTLE Schultz Brayshaw Lobb Frederick Brodie Ryan Serong

INJURIES

NARRM Steven May (concussion)

FREMANTLE Matt Taberner (back)

REPORTS

NARRM Nil

FREMANTLE Nil

SUBSTITUTES

NARRM Luke Dunstan (replaced Steven May)

FREMANTLE Bailey Banfield (replaced Matt Taberner)

UMPIRES Justin Power Hayden Gavine Simon Meredith

CROWD 29,812 at The MCG
ReportRd112022.png
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